- Mexico have beaten Germany just once in their history
- That solitary victory came in 1985
- The last time the two sides met was at the FIFA Confederations Cup Germany 2005
Mexico will have the weight of history against them when they take on Germany in the semi-finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017, with Die Mannschaft having always caused them more problems than most.
The two nations have met ten times in all, and the head-to-head record does not make for happy reading for the Mexicans. Victorious just the once since playing West Germany for the first time in 1968, El Tri have drawn five and lost four to Die Mannschaft, scoring 12 goals and conceding 20 in the process. They fared no better against East Germany either, beating them just once in seven attempts.
Ahead of Thursday’s big game, we pick out three of the most memorable matches between the two teams.
6 June 1978: West Germany 6-0 Mexico
Mexico went into the 1978 FIFA World Cup Argentina™ confident that they could go on and make history. Spearheaded by their 19-year-old star, Hugo Sanchez, a young Tri side had dominated the CONCACAF qualifiers and harboured high hopes of going far in the tournament. “We’ll beat Tunisia, draw with West Germany and beat Poland,” was the general opinion among the fans after the draw was made.
To say that things did not quite turn out that way would be an understatement. Following a shock 3-1 defeat to the Africans, Jose Antonio Roca’s side went down 6-0 to the West Germans, the reigning world champions. It remains Mexico’s worst ever world finals loss. A third reverse, at the hands of the Poles, condemned the Mexicans to last place at the competition, capping a performance that still haunts the country’s collective memory.
21 June 1986: West Germany 0-0 Mexico (West Germany won 4-1 on penalties)
In hosting the World Cup eight years later, El Tri lived up to expectations, topping a group that also featured Belgium, Paraguay and Iraq and then continuing their run with a commanding 2-0 defeat of Bulgaria.
Waiting for them in the quarter-finals were the West Germans once more. Played in Monterrey in intense heat, the match was closely contested and saw few chances. The home side thought they had won it when Francisco Javier Cruz turned the ball home, only for the goal to be disallowed for an infringement. Mexico became the first side to discover that beating the Germans on penalties is a near impossibility, with Raul Servin and Fernando Quirarte both missing from the spot as the home side went out.
29 June 1998: Germany 2-1 Mexico
The two sides crossed swords again 12 years later, in the last 16 at France 1998. Coached by Manuel Lapuente, the Mexicans went into the game full of optimism after a group phase in which Luis Hernandez and Cuauhtemoc Blanco had dazzled the world with their attacking flair.
After a goalless first half, Hernandez put the men in green ahead with his fourth goal of the tournament. They had back-to-back chances to double their lead, with Jesus Arellano striking a post and Hernandez firing straight at the keeper after being teed up from the rebound. Showing their famed persistence and tenacity, Germany fought back to win the day yet again, thanks to strikes from Jurgen Klinsmann and Oliver Bierhoff in the last 15 minutes.
Rubbing salt into Mexican wounds, Bierhoff said afterwards: “I wasn’t worried. We always beat Mexico.”
Come Thursday, Juan Carlos Osorio and his side will be hoping to end that record and finally slay Mexico’s German bogeymen.